Nehru – Patel – Ambedkar Correspondence 2

Camp Mussoorie

6 May 1948

My dear, Dr. Ambedkar,

Thank you for your letter of 1 May. I myself was shocked to read the reported version of your speech and was rather chary of believing that it was a correct report. It was for this reason that I waited for a day, in case you contradicted it. I wrote to you only when no contradiction came out the next day. I am glad to know that my first reaction is correct and that your version of the speech is so different from the published version, I can assure you that none of us desires that you should leave Government. Personally, I would be the last person to desire it. Gadgil has given me your message, and I have told him that there is no question of any embarrassment, and that I should like you to stay on in Government. I am sure that you will find, in co-operation with the Congress, the best means of safeguarding the interests of the Scheduled Castes. Of course, should you feel that the Congress is at any time acting detrimental to those interests, it is open to you to part company.

I also agree with you that so far as legislation is concerned the Scheduled Castes have nothing to fear and that their fears are legitimate in regard to administrative matters, There also, however, I feel convinced that, generally speaking, those who are in charge of administration are becoming more and more sympathetic and that, with the increasing inclusion of men from the Scheduled Castes in the administrative sphere, that sympathy would keep on growing. There also you can secure improvement more by co-operation than in opposition. I am glad to notice that this sentiment finds a place in your speech.

I am now feeling much better and am progressively taking more active interest and part in public affairs. I hope in a few weeks time I shall be quite normal,

With kindest regards,

Yours sincerely,

Vallabhbhai Patel

The Hon’ble Dr. B, R. Ambedkar

Minister for Law

New Delhi

10 May 1948

My dear Sardar Patel,

Thank you for your letter of 6 May 1948. I greatly appreciate the spirit in which it has been written.

I am happy to learn of the progress you are making in your health.

With kindest regards,

Yours sincerely,

B. R. Ambedkar

The Hon’ble Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel


New Delhi

5 May 1948

My dear Sardar Patel,

In continuation of my letter of 1 May 1948, I am enclosing herewith a copy of my reply to the Prime Minister to a further letter from him dated 30 April 1948, As desired by the Prime Minister, I am awaiting to discuss the matter with him. I trust you will keep this correspondence secret and personal to you.

I hope you are feeling better.

Yours sincerely,

B, R. Ambedkar

The Hon’ble Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel


My dear Pandit Nehru,

Please refer to your Secret and Personal letter of 30 April 1948. I regret very much my inability to acknowledge it immediately. Your letter fell in my hands late in the evening on Saturday. As you know, on the following Sunday, Monday and Tuesday T was busy with the Inter-Dominion Conference on water rights. However, I did give effect immediately to your suggestion of issuing a statement to the Press. My statement appeared on Monday, which I hope you have seen.

Thad not seen my speech as reported in the National Herald of Lucknow until you kindly sent me a cutting. All I can say is that the representative of this paper could not have distorted my speech in a manner worse than he has done. I delivered my speech in Hindustani, which is not my mother tongue. It is, therefore, possible for misreporting and misrepresenting the intention of the speaker. Added to this, the Press in India has had its knife in me for the last 25 years. Consequently, deliberate perversions of my speeches by. the Press have occurred many a time, I am not surprised what has occurred now. You can well recall how you yourself have been the victim of such misrepresentation in regard to your speech on Hyderabad delivered in Bombay at the last AICC meeting. I may point out that that part of my speech in which I justified my co-operation with the Congress has not been reported, and it is this omission which has been responsible for creating the misunderstanding.

I agree that the speech as reported may create in the public mind such impressions as you have referred to in your letter. But I hope that the statement I have issued will remove such impressions. If, however, you still feel embarrassed by my speech and that vis-a-vis the Congress party your position has become indefensible, I feel that the proper remedy for relieving you of your embarrassment is for me to offer you my resignation of my office as ‘Law Minister of the Government of India. You perhaps know that to me politics have never been a game. It is a mission. I have spent all my life and sacrificed all my personal prospects to help the Scheduled Castes in their betterment. I am grateful to you for your invitation to join your Cabinet and I am conscious that the acceptance of the invitation carries with it certain Imitations, But whatever limitations have to be accepted, I can never surrender my right to advise my people what is the best course for them to follow. I may add that in a coalition Government, members of different groups or parties are free to tender advice to their party in such a manner as they think fit so long as they do not impair the integrity of the Government of the day of which they are members.

You would, I imagine, prefer my not replying to your letter in any greater detail but to discuss the matter with you as desired by you, If you will fix up the day and the time at your convenience, I shall be glad to call on you. I have no important engagements till the 9th.

Yours sincerely,

B.R, Ambedkar

The Hon’ble Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru

New Delhi

5 May 1948

My dear Vallabhbhai,

I have received a sheaf of letters from you today, I want very much to go to Mussoorie to discuss various matters with you. But I fear I cannot do so till some time after the 22nd of this month. I had a talk with Rajendra Babu and provisionally I have fixed 24 May for my visit to Mussoorie. I shall try to have two days there. Work here accumulates so much that it is difficult to run away from it.

About Muslims coming to India from Pakistan, the matter is undoubtedly serious, So far as large numbers are concerned, I believe this relates to the Meos. I do not think that any policy discussion is necessary on this subject as there is general agreement that this inflow should not be encouraged. The real question is how to do it. We have issued instructions to all the parties concerned to discourage this, Even the train service which was to have run between Lahore and Amritsar has been postponed.

There is little traffic between West Punjab and East Punjab of this kind now, except stray people who may come across. But there is considerable traffic, I believe, on the Sind-Rajputana border. People come by roundabout ways. The only real way of stopping them is to guard effectively the long North-West  frontier of Rajputana,

About Frank Anthony, no one has ever thought of him as the Governor of Madras.

We have to come to swift decisions about:

(1) Governor of Bengal,

(2) Governor of Madras,

(3) Ambassador in Washington,

(4) Deputy High Commissioner in East Bengal.

I confess that I find great difficulty in selecting persons for these offices. Mountbatten has been pressing me to let Katju go to Calcutta as suggested by Rajaji and Bidhan Roy. You and I had reacted against this proposal and, of course, Mahtab did likewise. But I am beginning to think that perhaps stress of circumstances might force us to ask Katju.

We have had some very odd news from our office in Karachi about RAF planes coming to Karachi and going on to Hyderabad in some numbers, presumably carrying arms, It is a little difficult to verify this. If there is any truth at all in it, it is a very serious matter,

I have not met Dr. Ambedkar, but I wrote to him at length and you must have received a copy of my letter. It was because I wrote to him that he issued a Press statement. This Press statement has not been received well by the Press or by others. I feel, however, that we should not insist on anything more from him. I intend having a talk with him also.

My programme is:

9 to 11 May—Kashmir,

13 to 17 May—Mashobra,

24 and 25 May—Mussoorie,

28 May—Gwalior,

31 to 3 June—Ootacamund.



The Hon’ble Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel



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